2020 NHL Draft: WJC Edition 3 Stars Of The Week
The World Junior Championships are underway, and day one proved to be very exciting. All three 2019 medal-winning teams suffered losses on the opening day of the competition. A handful of 2020 NHL draft top-rated prospects played significant roles.
1. Alexis Lafreniére
Canada came back from a two-goal first-period deficit to defeat Team USA 6-4. The American squad were silver medalists a year ago and look primed to be medal contenders once again. Team Canada, thanks to a phenomenal four-point performance by top-ranked 2020 NHL draft prospect Alexis Lafreniére, came away with the victory.
With Canada trailing 2-1 in the second period, Lafreniére set up Barrett Hayton for a one-timer. The goal came while on the powerplay and knotted the game at 2-2. Similarly, he set up Hayton once again on the powerplay midway through the third period to give Canada a 4-2 lead. After Team USA had stormed back to even the game 4-4, Lafreniére would pick off an errant pass and walk in alone to slip one past Spencer Knight for the game-winning goal.
He added his fourth point of the game, setting up Ty Dellandrea for an empty-net marker to seal the victory.
Thus, Lafreniére earned the Player of the Game honours for Canada.
2. Alexander Holtz
Sweden needed overtime to get past the defending gold medalist Team Finland 3-2. Sweden had a vast territorial advantage throughout the match, resulting in them outshooting Finland by a 48-25 margin. However, it took an overtime powerplay goal by 2020 NHL draft prospect Alexander Holtz to decide the game.
Finland held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before a third-period goal with just over five minutes remaining by Sweden sent the game to extra time. Holtz earned the second star of the week honour for his overtime heroics.
3. Jan Mysak
Team Russia, bronze medalists in 2019, also experienced defeat in their first game of the tournament, falling 4-3 to the host nation, the Czech Republic. Jan Mysak showed why he is expected to be a first-round selection in the 2020 NHL draft as he was prominent throughout the game. Mysak scored a beautiful goal off the rush rifling a shot to the top corner over the glove of Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov to give the Czech Republic a 2-0 lead.
Consequently, Mysak won the Player of the Game distinction for his exceptional effort.
Defenceman Simon Kubicek also played a prominent role in the win for the Czech Republic. The Seattle Thunderbirds defender scored the game`s opening goal and defended well throughout the game.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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